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Alternative Therapies

  • Acupuncture is one aspect of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) that focuses on restoring the energy balance in the body to promote healing. The technique requires the insertion of fine needles into the dog’s body at specified points, called acupuncture points, where nerves and blood vessels converge. It is often used to treat dogs with arthritis and joint inflammation and may reduce the amount of medication a dog needs for these conditions. This handout explains how the treatment works and what to expect when your pet sees a veterinary acupuncturist.

  • There is a wide range of non-pharmaceutical products designed to improve a pet's behavior. There is little oversight for many of these products which means that any given product may not work for your pet. Ask your veterinarian before using any over-the-counter product for your pet. The label “natural” does not guarantee a product is safe to use in dogs and cats.

  • Calcium supplements are given by mouth or injection and are used on and off label and over the counter to treat low blood calcium levers in many species. Give as directed by your veterinarian. Side effects are uncommon but may include constipation. Do not use in pets with high blood calcium. If a negative reaction occurs, please call your veterinary office.

  • The term 'nutraceutical' was coined to represent compounds found in food and herbs that are not technically considered nutrients, such as vitamins or minerals, but may have a profoundly beneficial impact on the health of the body. Common examples of nutraceuticals include glucosamine, which is used in the treatment of arthritic conditions for both dogs and cats, and antioxidant compounds, that help in the prevention of cancer.

  • This handout discusses the risks and benefits of feeding a home-prepared versus commercial diet to your cat or dog. Topics highlighted include food safety, nutritional imbalances, and the need to ensure that any home-prepared diet has been well researched for nutritional safety and completeness.

  • Platelet rich plasma or PRP is a form of regenerative medicine where the platelet and protein fraction of blood is retrieved from a patient and then injected back into the patient at the site of inflammation. PRP contains growth factors that appear to promote tissue regeneration and reduce inflammation. It is a promising field of research and may help with wound healing and osteoarthritis. The procedure is not yet widely available and should only be performed by a veterinarian with special training in this area.

  • Stem cells are unspecialized cells that are capable of renewing themselves though cell division. Under certain conditions, they can become a specific tissue or organ cell. Stem cell therapy commonly refers to the process of placing stem cells from the body into diseased or damaged tissues, such as a torn ligament in the knee or perhaps an arthritic joint. This process is often referred to as regenerative medicine. Adult stem cells are capable of repair and regeneration of various tissues because they have the potential to differentiate into specialized cells of an organ. The most common use of stem cell therapies has been in the treatment of osteoarthritis in dogs and cats. Currently, there are no current guidelines with respect to stem cell therapy. Stem therapy should only be performed by a veterinarian with special training, who understands the benefits and limits of this therapy. It is important to have realistic expectations as positive outcomes cannot be guaranteed.

  • A supplement is a concentrated nutrient source that is added to a basic diet for either a nutritional or a therapeutic effect.

  • A supplement is a concentrated nutrient source that is added to a basic diet for either a nutritional or a therapeutic effect. Effective use of supplements requires the consideration of patient factors, such as the organ system that needs support, and product factors, such as dosage, safety, efficacy and balance.

  • A supplement is a concentrated nutrient source that is added to a basic diet for either a nutritional or a therapeutic benefit. It is common for supplements to be given along with other supplements, or in conjunction with other lifestyle changes.

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